Firefox Jabs Back At Microsoft By Hijacking Cortana Web Searches In Windows 10

Mozilla isn’t done just yet with Microsoft. Earlier this month, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard took Microsoft (and its chief executive, Satya Nadella) to task for setting Edge as the default browser in Windows 10 during an upgrade (when the “Express” setting is selected), even if a user had a competing browser like Chrome or Firefox installed on their Windows 7 or Windows 8 installation.

“The upgrade process now appears to be purposefully designed to throw away the choices its customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have,” said Beard at the time.

Seeing as how Microsoft clearly feels that it has done nothing wrong here and likely has no intention of caving to the demands of a competitor, Mozilla is taking what little action it can to “get back” at Microsoft. Look no further than Firefox 40 for Mozilla’s response.

Firefox 40

Mozilla is taking aim at Bing, Microsoft’s search engine that is closely linked with the Cortana digital assistant in Windows 10. In normal instances, a Cortana web search that is initiated from the Windows 10 taskbar will open your default browser, but will only show search results from Bing. There are third-party extensions that allow the user to change this behavior, but Firefox 40 is the first browser that will now show search results from the search engine that you set as the default within the browser.

This is a rather small change in behavior, but one that is surely to irritate Microsoft like a nagging little mosquito buzzing around its ear looking for a quick meal. That irritation is likely to only become even more profound if Chrome, the most widely used browser globally, goes down the sane route.

In addition to the Bing snub, Firefox 40 has also been tweaked to better adhere to the Windows 10 design aesthetic. “We’ve made thoughtful tweaks to the interface to give Firefox a streamlined feel,” writes the Mozilla team. “You’ll also notice bigger, bolder design elements as well as more space for viewing the Web.”

Mozilla has also taken steps to enable a signing process for Firefox extensions in an effort to “ensure that using add-ons is a safe and secure experience for our users.” For now, this means that users will receive a notification when installing an unsigned extension; a move has been seen as an annoyance to Firefox users.

However, things will only get worse with future versions of Firefox, as Mozilla states that “any third-party add-on that has not been certified will be disabled by default.”